WHAT’S ON IN TORONTO – MAY/JUNE/2017 (CLICK ON WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION & TICKETS)

<An up-to-date listing of what’s on in North America’s 4th largest city, and where to find it>

MUSIC, MUSICALS & DANCE
– May 23 – June 3 – For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow is Enuf, music, dance, poetry, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– May 23 – June 4 – Onegin, rock adaptation of the Pushkin poem, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, 416-368-3110
– May 23-28 – Emerging Voices, Toronto Dance Theatre’s up-and-coming choreographers, Winchester St. Theatre, 80 Winchester St., http://www.tdt.org/emerging-voices
– May 23-28 – Sing! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, The Distillery District and other venues, http://www.singtoronto.com
– May 24-28 – Twenty-first Century Music Festival, 9 concerts, 5 days, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca
– May 23 – June 25 – Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pierce, Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 2 – New Canadian Global Music Orchestra, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca
– June 6-11 – The Sound of Music, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 7-25 – Show Stopper: The Improvished Musical, each show created on-the-spot by the Showstoppers, Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 27 – August 20 – ‘Beautiful – the Carole King Musical’, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– Ongoing – Spoon River, new musical, winner of a Dora Mavor Moore Award, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– Ongoing – Friday Night Jazz at the Aquarium, second Friday of every month, included with general admission, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Rd, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

COMEDY, THEATRE & SPOKEN WORD
– May 23-27 – The Boy in the Moon, based on the book by Globe and Mail journalist Ian Brown, Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue, http://www.crowstheatre.com
– May 23-28 – I Did It My Way In Yiddish (In English), songs and stories about meeting Leonard Cohen & other tales, Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, http://www.fillerup.ca
– May 23-28 – Paprika Festival, new plays, dance performances, experimental art, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East, http://www.paprikafestival.com
– May 23-28 – Dom Juan by Moliere, Theatre Francais de Toronto, some shows with English surtitles, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, http://www.theatrefrancais.com
– May 23-28 – Midsummer (A Play With Songs), failed car salesman and a divorce lawyer hook up, Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Avenue, http://www.tarragontheatre.com

MUSEUMS & PUBLIC ART GALLERIES
– Ongoing – Syria: A Living History, exhibition, symposium, lectures, performances, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, http://www.agakhanmuseum,org
– Ongoing – ‘Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story’, from the deep a giant emerges, Royal Ontario Museum, tickets at http://www.rom.ca
– Until June 4 – Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, http://www.agakhanmuseum.org
– Until June 18 – Visual Arts Winter Exhibitions, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com
– Until June 25 – Kind Words Can Never Die: Victorian Needlework, Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Street, http://www.textilemuseum.ca
– Until June 28 – Road of Light and Hope, Todai-ji Temple, Nara, photographs by Miro Ito, Japan Foundation, 2 Bloor St. East, 3rd floor, Hudson Bay Centre, for times go to http://www.jftor.org
– Until July 15 – It’s All Happening So Fast, a counter-history of the modern Canadian environment, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, organized by the Cdn. Centre of Photography, http://artmuseum.utoronto.ca/
– Until July 30 – Georgia O’Keeffe, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, http://www.ago.net
– Until August 13 – Suzy Lake, Scotiabank Photography Award winner, Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould Street, free admission, http://www.ryerson.ca/ric
– Until October 2017 – Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, http://www.batashoemuseum.ca
– Ongoing – The Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 216 Main Street in historic Unionville/Markham, http://www.varleygallery.ca
– Ongoing – Art Gallery of Mississauga, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, http://www.artgalleryofmississauga.com
– Ongoing – McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10,365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, http://www.mcmichael.com
– Ongoing – Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Exhibit, Hockey Hall of Fame, 30 Yonge Street, http://www.hhof.com
– The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, leading public gallery devoted to contemporary visual art, http://www.thepowerplant.org
– Ongoing – Black Creek Pioneer Village, the way life used to be, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-736-1733, http://www.blackcreek.ca

COMMERCIAL ART GALLERIES
– May 23 ongoing – Contact Photography Festival, focusing this year on Canada and Canadians, galleries all over town, http://www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
– May 23-27 – Jon Rafman, video, Arsenal, 45 Ernest Avenue, http://www.canadianart.ca/galleries/arsenal-toronto/
– May 23-27 – Robert Mapplethorpe, Olga Korper Gallery, 17 Morrow Avenue, http://www.olgakorpergallery.com
– Until June 10 – Luis Jacob, photography, Toronto Photographers Workshop, 170 St. Helen’s, http://www.gallerytpw/ca/contact
– Until June 17 – Charles Gagnon, photography, Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen Street West, http://www.bulgergallery.com
– Until June 30 – Thaddeus Holownia, photography, Corkin Gallery, 7 Tank House, Distillery District, http://www.corkingallery.com

GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer, etc.
– May 25 – June 4 – 27th annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival, for tickets and venues http://insideout.ca/torontofestival/films/schedule-of-films
– May 26 – RuPaul’s Drag Race, Queens Werq The World Tour, Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Av., 8pm, http://www.ticketmaster.ca
– Ongoing – Rainbow Railroad, a charity which helps individuals in countries where being LGBTQ is an invite to violence, imprisonment or death, http://www.rainbowrailroad.ca
– Ongoing – ProudFM 103.9, Toronto’s LGBTQ radio station, http://www.proudfm.com
– Ongoing – Legit, second Thursday of every month, legal counsel for same-sex couples immigrating to Canada, 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street, http://www.legit.ca
– Ongoing – Get Out! Running Group, every Sunday, people of all ages and experience levels, 10-11:30am, Fuel Plus 471 Church Street, free, http://www.getoutcanada.com
– Ongoing – Glad Day Bookshop & Cafe, since 1970, oldest LGBTQ bookshop in the Americas, 499 Church Street, licenced, coffee bar, warm welcome, http://www.gladdaybookshop.com
– Ongoing – Out and Out LGBTQ outdoors club, http://www.outandout.ca
– Ongoing – Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps of Toronto (ROTC), colour guard, band, drum corps, baton, dance, http://www.rotctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), 115 Simpson Avenue at Howard Street, http://www.mcctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Xtra magazine, gay community news in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, http://www.xtra.ca/toronto.aspx
– Ongoing – The Pink Pages, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, leather, queer directory for Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and Niagara/St. Catharines, http://thepinkpagesdirectory.com
– Ongoing – (CLGA) Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, second largest in the world, research centre, art gallery, 34 Isabella Street, http://www.clga.ca

THE MOVIES AND OTHER STUFF
– Ongoing – TAPto free walking tours by Toronto Greeters, book online at http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
– May 23 – Goethe Films/2017 at Bell Lightbox, selected German documentaries, for details go to http://www.goethe.de/toronto
– May 27, 28 – Doors Open, explore Toronto’s bldgs., http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen
– June 15-18 – Taste of Toronto, for foodies who feast, Garrison Common Fort York, http://www.tasteoftoronto.com
– Until December 31 – To Canada With Love, Toronto’s cultural events celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, various venues, http://www.toronto.ca/canada150
– Ongoing – Free Arts in the Parks, concerts, films and arts of all kinds, for full events listings and details go to http://www.artsintheparksto.org
– Camera Bar Cinema, 1028 Queen Street West, Toronto’s smallest movie theatre, free feature films on Saturdays at 3:00pm, http://www.bulgergallery.com/camera.html
– Mount Pleasant Cinema, 675 Mount Pleasant Road, big screen, 2nd run features, some European films, etc., https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/mount-pleasant
– Carlton Cinemas, 9 screens, fully licensed, $5 Tuesdays, 20 Carlton Street, http://www.rainbowcinemas.ca
– Market Square Cinemas, 80 Front Street East, several screens, https://imaginecinemas.com/cinema/market-square/
– Regent Cinema, 551 Mount Pleasant Road, 2nd run features, big screen, https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/regent
– TIFF Bell Lightbox, 5 cinemas, movies that don’t play in the multiplex, for times and schedule go to http://www.tiff.net/whats-on
– Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, specializing in documentaries and films seldom shown in the multiplex, 506 Bloor Street West, http://www.bloorcinema.com
– Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue, neighbourhood cinema, second-run, docmentary & foreign features, http://www.revuecinema.ca
– Royal Cinema, documentaries, festivals, foreign, second-run features, 608 College Street, http://www.theroyal.to
– Ontario Science Center Omnimax,770 Don Mills Road, https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/imax
– Scotiabank Toronto Imax, 259 Richmond Street West, http://www.imax.com/theatres/scotiabank-toronto-imax
– Ongoing – ride the ferry to Ward’s Island & have lunch at the Rectory Cafe (only open restaurant on the Islands), 101 Lakeshore Avenue, 416-203-2152, http://www.therectorycafe.com
– Ongoing – Medieval Times, dinner and jousting tournaments, Exhibition Place, foot of Dufferin Street, http://www.medievaltimes.com or 888-we-joust
– Ongoing – Edgewalk, CN Tower, walk around the edge of our tallest free-standing structure, http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca
– Ongoing – Sunday Antique Market, free, Jarvis Street south of King
– Ongoing – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard, at the bottom of the CN Tower, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

TORONTO SAVVY is now on the UK-based website ‘Walked Thru’ – http://www.walkedthru.com

TORONTO’s police union has been invited to march in New York City’s Pride Parade in uniform. “The invitation was extended because we felt they were being excluded from the Pride festivities in Toronto, and we fought very hard over a very long period of time here in New York City to have the right to march in uniform,” said Brian Downey, president of the Gay Officers Action League.

<IMAGE – William Joseph Shepard who disagrees with Pride Toronto and its ban on uniformed police officers in the June 25th parade.>

Way to go, NEW YORK!

May 23/2017 end of an era – HONEST ED’s signs are coming down.  A large one is destined for the Ed Mirvish Theatre, 144 Victoria Street.  <PHOTO – Gary Taxall/Facebook>

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 15-22/2017

<BASS ISLAND property in Muskoka, listed at $10,800,000>

TORONTO’s real estate frenzy has spread to cottage country as city dwellers cash out and head north. The value of waterfront property in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia surged 51.4% year over year in April. The median price of $485,000 was up 30.4% from April/2016. Last week in Haliburton/Muskoka on three big lakes, there were 51 properties listed with an average price of $3-million.

“Privacy is still the key factor when it comes to price. Up here, the definition of privacy is when you can stand on your front deck naked and nobody can see you. You need 200 feet of waterfront to do that.” – Hugh Nichols, Re/Max North Country agent

Google has its eye on TORONTO’s under-developed waterfront and believes digital city-building might ‘fix’ it.

The premise – building from the ground up with new technologies brings with it potential environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordable housing. Google’s vision entails high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride-sharing, and sensors throughout. As Canada’s largest urban area with a booming multicultural centre and a 12-acre industrial waterfront along Lake Ontario, TORONTO is in the running.

To create a city of the future from the ground up necessitates demolishing the city of the past – which puts both Montreal and Vancouver at some disadvantage.

High-speed rail – Ontario Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE says the province will set up an agency to plan, finance and build a high-speed rail corridor between TORONTO, Guelph, Kitchener, London and Windsor.

“The best time to have done this was 40 years ago, the second best time is today. Today is what we’ve got, so today is what we are working with,” said Ms. Wynne. “We are moving ahead, we are going to make this happen.”

TORONTO’s Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods Park area have just been ranked #1 for music production in Canada. In a news release The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says “”This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in TORONTO’s south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage.”

<PHOTO – Canterbury Music Company, 322 Dufferin Street>

TORONTO scores a 68% home ownership rate in the ‘developed’ world. We’re behind only OSLO (69%) and CALGARY (74%). A report from the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that half of TORONTO-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2-million empty bedrooms.

The city is about 350,000 bedrooms short of housing the 20% of residents who are shelter-poor.

A newborn lamb, one of three, at TORONTO’s inner-city Riverdale Farm. The Farm is located on Sumach Street, north of Carlton. You can reach it easily on the #506 eastbound streetcar. Get off at Sumach and walk north to Riverdale Park.

TORONTO again proves its key importance by landing the federal government’s infrastructure bank. The city’s Financial District will give members easy access to investors whose cash the feds need to make their bank work.

$35-billion in federal funds will be used to entice private investment in public transit, highways and electrical grids that generate revenues through user fees or tolls. Approximately $15-billion of that will be cash, with the remaining $20-billion in repayable loans or equity stakes that shouldn’t affect the government’s bottom line.

Bon anniversaire, Montréal!  Canada’s second largest city 350 miles east of TORONTO, celebrated its 375th birthday on May 17, 2017.  The Quebec metropolis is a town that seldom sleeps and the lights are always on.

They want a TORONTO subway connection and, in return, they’re prepared to favour a Downtown Relief Line (DRL). The mayors of Markham, Richmond Hill and York Region have announced they’d support JOHN TORY’s push for the DRL – if he’d support their wish for a TTC subway hookup.

Mayor Tory had threatened to stop all planning for regional subway connections which would directly affect the above municipalities.

Actor KAL PENN, who plays the press secretary on ABC’s “Designated Survivor” – shooting in TORONTO – gave the New York Times his impression of Big T.O. “It is an incredibly diverse city. They take in refugees that the United States doesn’t accept. I came back and saw not just new buildings, but entire neighbourhoods that were industrial and have been transformed into living spaces.

“There’s a neighbourhood called PARKDALE which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food there, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great holes-in-the-wall. Little Portugal is another neighbourhood with really nice shops and restaurants.”

Londoner ROSE POWER sent her best wishes to TORONTO this week in a letter published by Metro News.  “I would recommend anyone wanting to enjoy great food, sights and friendly people in a safe city, really ought to give TORONTO a try!  They won’t be disappointed.  I also think TORONTO should be held up as an awesome model of multiculturalism working at its finest.”

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – A MIX OF GENTRIFICATION & INDUSTRY ON TORONTO’S DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE

One of things I love about TORONTO is its weird mix of neighbourhoods. Walk two blocks south of trendy Riverside and Leslieville and you’re in a land of warehouses, gentrified Victorians, electric wires, cables, a couple of movie studios, billboards and light industry. Much of it is even photogenic.

A BLUE WHALE’S HEART IS SURE TO BE THIS YEAR’S MAIN ATTRACTION @ ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

<PHOTO – Samantha Phillips>

The BLUE WHALE, world’s largest animal, has a heart that’s 4 feet wide, 3 & a half feet tall, and 3 feet thick. It pumps 150 litres of blood (40 gallons) per beat and weighs in at 400 pounds. This particular heart was taken from a whale that washed ashore in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>

David Hains in Metro News writes “4 months were needed to prepare the heart in nearly sixteen 200-litre barrels of formaldehyde. Technicians then dehydrated the heart using 22,000 litres of acetone, a process that took nearly 5 months. Then came dissection, reshaping and colouring.

“The ROM team shipped the heart to Gubener Plastinate in Germany to preserve and plastinate it, and then a team of six prepared it for shipping back to TORONTO.” The heart and the whale’s skeletal remains are on display until September 4 at the Royal Ontario Museum in TORONTO.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>

FROM THE CABBAGETOWN/REGENT PARK MUSEUM – TWO LONG-GONE PARLIAMENT STREET CINEMAS

The Eclipse, 389 Parliament Street, made way for apartment buildings in North Regent Park in the mid-1950’s. It was quite normal for Cabbagetown theatres to show out-of-date movies, and The Eclipse was one of them. <PHOTO – The Eclipse, July 27, 1949. City of Toronto Arcives.>

The Bluebell Theatre, later named The Gay, stood next to Frenchie’s Fish & Chips on Parliament at Dundas. After a renovation, it didn’t take long to again become a dump. According to the Museum, the Bluebell’s floor was coated with gallons of spilled soda pop making it very sticky. Saturday matinees could get so rowdy that there was a bouncer on hand to throw troublemakers out.

CARVED FROM BACKYARDS OF NEIGHBOURING HOMES, CRAVEN ROAD’S ‘TINY TOWN’ HOUSES ARE UNIQUE

“As TORONTO continues to be surrounded by more and more condo buildings, it is fun being reminded that somewhere near these gigantic high-rise buildings lives a world of little spaces. Craven Road and the Tiny House Society have managed to prove that a few hundred square feet is more than enough space to live comfortably — even among rooms full of history.” – Spacing Magazine

CRAVEN ROAD is reachable by the Queen Street East and Dundas East streetcar lines. The subway stop is COXWELL.

A VICTORIAN GHOST REAPPEARS AS RYERSON U. UNVEILS PLANS FOR AN URBAN INNOVATION CENTRE

Hidden behind a 1960‘s-era facade, a 40,000-square-foot piece of Victoriana, chimneys and all, will soon be part of Ryerson University’s $46-million Centre for Urban Innovation. The 1886 heritage building once housed Canada’s first pharmacy school, and until recently was the university’s Theatre Arts School.

The Centre for Urban Innovation will bring together researchers of separate but related subjects with a focus on nutrition, energy and water in an urban context. Carol Phillips of Moriyama and Teshima Architects is the lead designer of the project.

The Ontario College of Pharmacy Gerrard Street East entrance, built in 1887, was demolished and replaced by a modern facade in 1963. <PHOTO – City of Toronto Archives>